crimea bridge
© Reuters / Pavel Rebrov
Road-and-rail bridge connecting Russian mainland with the Crimean peninsula
Private businesses in China are interested in involving Russia's Crimea in the implementation of projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Beijing's development & investment project in 152 countries on five continents.

That's according to the head of the association of Chinese compatriots on the peninsula, Ge Zhili. "Our organization is bolstering cooperation ties, exchanges and friendly contacts with the Crimean society," he said at an event dedicated to the fifth anniversary of Crimea's reunification with Russia, which was held in the Russian Embassy in Beijing on Monday.

The official explained that the association he leads wants "to help people understand what Crimea is, establish reliable relations with the peninsula, and implement joint private projects under the Belt and Road Initiative."

It is also ready to contribute to the establishment of "reliable partner ties" and the explanation of legal details of business cooperation with Crimea, Ge Zhili said. "The Chinese society hopes for the development of friendly cooperation with Crimea; we are ready to overcome difficulties for fruitful results."

There are also plans to renew cooperation between Crimea and southern China's Hainan province, as well as between such cities as Yalta and Sanya, Sevastopol and Dalian, Sudak and Heihe.

Crimea has been under US and European sanctions after the region seceded from Ukraine and rejoined Russia following a referendum in 2014.

The ambitious development and investment megaproject BRI was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. It aims to involve 152 countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa.